There are vintage Derek Carr performances, and then there are those that don't fall into that category.
Over the past three seasons, the Oakland Raiders starting quarterback has routinely delivered sterling performance after sterling performance, but, alas, last week's game was not one of those outings.
The shortcomings of the Raiders offensive effort against the Washington Redskins have been chronicled at length since Sunday night, and while Carr was quick to absorb the blame postgame, his offensive coordinator Todd Downing thinks that it's unfair to put the unit's struggles against the Redskins all on No. 4's right shoulder.
"I don't think any position group watched that Washington game and felt like we put our best foot forward," said Downing Thursday. "So we're just really looking forward to getting back to our identity, and coming out and playing good, clean, solid, high-effort, high-finish football."
Carr's 118-yard, two-interception performance was a far cry from what we've come to expect from "DC," but if his track record is any indication, his Week 3 effort was more the exception than the rule.
"You guys know how prideful a worker he is," Downing said of his starting quarterback. "He's worked really hard this week to clean up some things, and do his part, but that's permeated our whole offense. No one has looked at that game – as I said – and thought, 'man, I'm really pleased with what I put on tape.' Everybody from Derek all the way down to quality control coaches look for ways to improve, and that's going to be what propels us going forward."
Now just a few days out from the opening of divisional play, Downing, Carr, and the rest of the Raiders offense have moved forward to fully immersing themselves in preparation for the Denver Broncos, which is certainly no easy task.
Not only does Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods have All-Pro outside linebacker Von Miller at his disposal, but the Broncos also boast one of the best secondaries in the NFL to boot.
While the group is currently allowing 212.7 passing yards per game – good for 20th in the NFL – led by Aqib Talib, Chris Harris, Jr., and Bradley Roby, on paper, the Denver secondary is one of the most talented in the entire league.
"They have Pro Bowl players everywhere," Carr explained. "They know how I feel about them – nothing but respect for them. I think the world of how good and talented they are, but I am always excited to play against them. It's always fun to compete against those guys because they bring the best out of you. It's always fun."
On the road in a hostile environment, with a coveted division win up for grabs, Carr and the entire Raiders offense will have to bring their best effort if they want to fly back to the Bay Area with a win in tow.
"We're at our best when we go do our job, and if we keep the blinders on, and just stay focused on our job, and executing our techniques, we're going to be alright," Downing said.
Kickoff against the Broncos is scheduled for 1:25 p.m. PT.